A Rainbow of Love
In the previous issue of Letters from CAMP Rehoboth, I ran some old photos showing what the CAMP Rehoboth Courtyard looked like 25 years ago. I also had a photo of the rainbow fence we built in 1990: the first rainbow fence. Let me clarify that. We didn’t rebuild the rainbow fence (although it did get a major renovation after sections of it came down in a nor’easter), but we did redesign and repaint the colors sometime in the 90s.
The first version of the rainbow fence was a straightforward spectrum with each color blending into the next. The new and revised version was more complicated than that, and used more colors than the standard LGBT rainbow flag.
This is how it worked: Each picket of the fence was assigned a color; slightly different color variations alternated through the spectrum. For example: the pickets on the first section of the fence ran magenta, crimson, magenta crimson, magenta, crimson; then the magenta was replaced with scarlet, and the pattern continued scarlet, crimson, scarlet, crimson and so on through a sequence of another dozen or so colors.
I talked about this at the recent CAMP Rehoboth Volunteer Appreciation Party at CAMP Rehoboth. Why? Because my memory of the day we painted that fence clearly involves all the volunteers who answered our “Tom Sawyer” call to join in the fun of repainting the rainbow fence.
Of course, it comes to no surprise to any of my current décor team volunteers; I had drawn the whole thing out, and numbered each picket so we would be assured of getting the color sequence just right. In my mind’s eye, I can still see that line of fence painters, each working diligently on a different color-by-numbered picket.
The point of this story, however, was not just about folks volunteering to get the fence painted. It was a comparison of the volunteers themselves to the colors of the spectrum. Each color, each minute color variation, fills a particular niche in the rainbow. Remove one color, and there is a hole in the spectrum. Our volunteers fill the “holes” for us by stepping up to take responsibility for specific jobs.
For an organization of our size and budget, we still have a remarkably small paid staff, and we depend heavily on the dedication of our volunteers, who do everything from mailing this magazine to filling staff level positions within the organization. To stick with my color metaphor: our volunteers provide us a full spectrum of assistance.
Though members of the paid staff do work with volunteers, CAMP Rehoboth does not have a paid volunteer manager, and we rely on the efforts of our talented Volunteer Development Committee (VDC): Steve Hoult (Chair), Leslie Sinclair, Rebecca Moscoso, Monica Parr, and Joe Della Torre. Members of the VDC created and now manage the CAMP Rehoboth Volunteer Training Program, and they were responsible for the success and great fun of this year’s Volunteer Appreciation Party at the CAMP Rehoboth Community Center.
The Appreciation Party, by the way, was made possible by CAMP Volunteer Sponsor Fairway Mortgage, and the incredible generosity of Joe Zuber and Darryl Ciarlante at Dos Locos.
Over the past year, 342 people volunteered for CAMP Rehoboth! That’s an amazing number and shows the deep commitment that members of this community have for our organization. Each one of those 342 people comes to us with their own unique skills and talents, and they come with different reasons for wanting to volunteer. They are also a tremendous resource for us, as well as goodwill ambassadors for CAMP Rehoboth.
The list of jobs that volunteers do for us is huge, and I couldn’t possibly name them all, but they include: office shifts, event set-up and breakdown, committee and board work, gardening and courtyard upkeep, maintenance manager, graphic design, photography, finance, stage and tech management, press and copy writing, proofreading, Facebook and web maintenance, letter and postcard mailings, CAMPsafe condom packaging, program development, staffing for the thrift shop and library book sales, auction item collection, homecare for the sick, and the list goes on and on.
Over the last few seasons, we’ve been trying to recognize our volunteers in the Volunteer Spotlight section of Letters from CAMP Rehoboth. Links to all of those pages can be found under CAMP Center/volunteers on the CAMP Rehoboth website. So far we’ve been able to showcase 60 volunteers—I don’t think we’re in danger of running out of Spotlight candidates any time soon!
In an effort to hear more of what our volunteers say about CAMP Rehoboth, and their work here, and why they volunteer for us I revisited a few of those Volunteer Spotlight pages:
“I had always wanted to give back to the community and I couldn’t think of a better community to support.” Mary McElhone
“I love the connection to the community that I always feel as soon as I walk through the door! A home base! Somewhere I can find out anything and everything, information of the goings-on in Rehoboth and most importantly that CAMP is such a resource for our community.” Keith Petrack
“I wanted to get involved with CAMP to help maintain Rehoboth as a safe and fun place where LGBT individuals and couples come to vacation, live, and work. I also wanted to help ensure that people (especially those in house shares) don’t take for granted all that CAMP has done, and continues to do, to help make Rehoboth Beach what it is today.” Josh Levie
“We enjoy volunteering because it’s a great way to give back to the community and make new friends.” Monica Parr and Emilie Paternoster
“CAMP is involved in an incredible amount of advocacy and there’s something there that will inspire everyone to get involved.” Paul Frene and Gene Cavazos
“For both of us, CAMP is the heart of our community.” Maureen Keenan and Teri Dunbar
“CAMP Rehoboth is my home at the beach. It’s the center of my universe here and a place of refuge, friends, and my chosen family. But more than that, it is a legacy for the next generation who might think discrimination is gone. It isn’t yet, but we have built the infrastructure for equality to thrive.” Sondra Arkin
These are just a few of the many “colors” in the CAMP Rehoboth rainbow of volunteers. Along with our membership they are the backbone of our organization—and most definitely its heart and soul.
Thank you to all the volunteers who have given of their time and talents to make CAMP Rehoboth and this community a better place.
Murray Archibald, CAMP Co-founder and President of the Board of Directors of CAMP Rehoboth, is an artist in Rehoboth Beach.